I love fruitcake. My grandmother was quite a remarkable baker, so I never had the horrible commercial fruitcake that many of my friends grew up with.

This recipe is a compilation, but is the absolute best I’ve ever had, mainly due to the long maceration of the dried fruits and the ripening. Theoretically, it would have been better to start this right after Halloween for Christmas consumption, but it’s still possible to make it for New Year’s Day, if you don’t dawdle, but longer ripening is better. Oh, and the first step takes a week. Hop to it!

This makes about 4 standard loaf pans, but you can adapt it to any baking vessel. Just make sure you keep an eye on it and don’t over bake.

Properly attended to, fruitcake can be stored safely for literally years. We recently finished eating the last fruitcake of my batch from last Christmas. I store my fruitcakes in the wine cellar and bathe them with alcohol throughout the year.

Best Damn Fruitcake Recipe on the Interwebs

Give up on all other versions. This is the one you need.

Course Dessert
Cuisine Seasonal


  • 2 cups pitted dates
  • 2 cups candied lemon rind
  • 2 cups candied orange rind
  • 1.5 cups dried apricots
  • 1.5 cups dried figs
  • 1.5 cups candied cherries
  • 1.5 cups candied pineapple
  • 1.5 cups candied citron
  • 1 cup crystallized ginger
  • 3 cups raisins
  • 3 cups dried currants
  • 2.5 cups Grand Marnier
  • 3 cups Cognac
  • 2.5 cups flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 3 tbsp. cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. ground mace
  • 3 tsp. powdered instant espresso
  • 1 lb. butter
  • 2.25 cups dark brown sugar
  • 9 eggs
  • 1.25 cups molasses
  • 6 cups pecan halves
  • 6 cups walnut halves


  1. Using a large knife, chop the dates, lemon rind, orange rind, apricots, figs, cherries, citron, and ginger. Place in a large bowl and add the raisins and currants. Pour 1/2 cup Grand Marnier and 1 cup cognac over the ingredients in the bowl and stir to mix well. Allow to rest in the refrigerate for a week.

  2. Preheat oven to 225. Grease 4 or 5 standard loaf pans. Line with parchment baking paper. Grease the parchment paper.

  3. Sift the flour, cocoa, cloves, cinnamon, mace, and espresso powder to combine.

  4. Cream butter and brown sugar; beat until fluffy. One at a time, beat in eggs, making sure each is fully incorporated before adding the next.

  5. Add dry ingredients and molasses a bit at a time, mixing well. Don't worry if the mixture seems to curdle. It's fine. Transfer batter to a very large bowl.

  6. Stir in marinated fruit mixture with the marinade, and nuts.

  7. Distribute batter into prepared pans. Press down to eliminate any air pockets. 

  8. Bake about 5 hours or until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.

  9. Remove cakes from oven and allow to cool for at least 30 minutes. Turn the cakes out onto racks. Cool completely before proceeding.

  10. Brush the tops of cakes with 1 tbsp each of Grand Marnier and cognac. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and allow to ripen at room temperature for one week. Each day, unwrap and brush the cakes with 1 tbsp of each of the remaining liquors.

  11. After the week is up, wrap tightly in new plastic, wrap in foil and refrigerate for several weeks before serving.

Recipe Notes

To increase the absorption of the liquor by the cakes, poke holes in the top with a toothpick before brushing on liquor.

Other orange-flavored liquors can be used in place of the Grand Marnier.